Refugees’ ship sank after Libyan forces open fire at it in the Mediterranean

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[ 14/10/2013 – 07:01 PM ]


MALTA, (PIC)– The Action Group for Palestinians in Syria said on Sunday evening that a ship carrying hundreds of Palestinian refugees sank in the Mediterranean Sea after the Libyan coast guard shot wildly at it.

The boat was carrying up to 375 migrants. Some 70 Palestinian refugees survived and are now in Malta, with the rest unaccounted for, the action group said.

One of the survivors said Libyan Coast Guard opened fire at them wounding two refugees, while the ship continued to sail until it reached the area between Malta and Lampedusa. There the engines stopped working because of the shooting, causing the vessel to take on water and sink.

Survivors appealed to international bodies, human rights organizations and the Red Cross in Malta to immediately intervene and launch rescue operation as a large number of their relatives are still missing.

Director of the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdo said that the ship left the Libyan port of Zwara on Thursday, and that a boat carrying armed persons claiming it belongs to the Libyan coast guard tried to stop the refugees’ ship.

He said the captain did not stop, and the armed group opened fire at the ship. The ship then stopped on Sunday and the captain called for help from Italian authorities, which told them that they are in the Maltese waters, Abdo added.

He pointed out that the Maltese authorities said they cannot offer help, and that the ship sank and added that Italian, Maltese and Tunisian rescue boats arrived then to rescue the survivors.

Director of the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory noted that estimates suggest that the number of victims is more than half the number of passengers, and that the ship was carrying about 100 children.


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